Enhanced MJO and transition to superrotation in warm climates
Number of Authors: 2
2016 (English)In: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, ISSN 1942-2466, Vol. 8, no 1, 304-318 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Using the NCAR CAM3 model in aquaplanet configuration, we perform a suite of simulations spanning a broad range of warm climates. The simulations show a spontaneous transition to superrotation, i.e., westerly winds at upper levels above the equator. The momentum convergence leading to superrotation is driven by eastward-propagating equatorial waves with structure similar to the modern Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), whose amplitude increases strongly with temperature. We analyze the moist static energy (MSE) budget of the model's MJO to identify mechanisms leading to its enhanced amplitude. Two such mechanisms are identified: a rapid increase of mean low-level MSE with rising temperature, as found in previous work, and reduced damping of the MJO by synoptic-scale eddies. Both effects imply a reduced gross moist stability and enhanced MJO amplitude. The reduced eddy damping is caused by the transition to superrotation, which allows a greater penetration of extratropical eddies into the equatorial zone; the dominant effect of this greater penetration is to flatten the meridional gradient zonal-mean MSE, which effectively impedes the generation of anomalous MSE divergence by MJO-modulated eddies. This mechanism implies a positive feedback between superrotation and the MJO which may hasten the transition into a strongly superrotating state.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 8, no 1, 304-318 p.
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130981DOI: 10.1002/2015MS000615ISI: 000374770200015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-130981DiVA: diva2:936214